International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and the day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias.
Covenant House Vancouver is committed to women’s equality and our work is focused on supporting young women who are experiencing homelessness, who are at-risk for homelessness, or who have experienced human trafficking. You may have heard of the term hidden homelessness?
Those who are experiencing hidden homelessness are living in temporary housing situations where their homelessness is not visible, but who live without the guarantee of continued residency or immediate prospects for accessing permanent housing, according to Women’s National Housing & Homelessness Network (WNHHN).
Women and gender diverse people are overrepresented in the hidden homelessness population in Canada. Many, including young women, rely on informal networks for housing or engage in dangerous survival strategies to access shelter and meet their basic needs. It means the scale of women’s housing needs and homelessness is much larger than what is currently estimated.
We urge you to examine the bias around homelessness and increase understanding around this topic. A good place to start is https://womenshomelessness.ca/.
Increasing Inclusivity at CHV
Here are eight ways young women and gender diverse youth are welcomed and supported at CHV:
- We offer gender specific residential spaces and choice for gender diverse youth
- Continually redesigning physical spaces in our Drop-in Centre to be more welcoming for all
- Dedicated 1:1 support with housing searches; and advocacy for youth with prospective (and potentially biased) landlords to help secure suitable housing
- Consent awareness and sexual health education
- Free menstrual products
- Social events specifically for female-identified youth and LGBTQ2S+ community
- Support for survivors of human trafficking and survivor led leadership through our Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative Connection and community building with donors and supporters on International Women’s Day to raise awareness around unique issues young women and gender diverse youth face with homelessness and housing precarity